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02/12/2015 11:36 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Secrets The Airlines Don't Want You To Know

Jen Bui/iStock

By: Nadia Imafidon

Once you've experienced a $200 price spike in the middle of your ticket search, your fourth 45-minute flight delay of the day, or your bag going MIA in Miami, you can't help but think: what are these airlines hiding from me?

It turns out, A LOT. Sure, some of it's coincidence, and you get an $8 voucher for an airport breakfast. But that overpriced breakfast is not an adequate salve -- and in fact, you've got a right to more than that. Here are 10 secrets airlines don't want you to know.

More: 10 Ways to Save Tons of Cash When You Travel in 2015

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Credit: Flickr/401(K) 2012

Say 'no' to vouchers -- you're entitled to cold, hard cash

Do not settle for vouchers. They're the airline equivalent of Geoffrey Dollars. If you're bumped from a flight because it's overbooked, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has compensation rules of up to $1,300 in cash if the airline fails to rearrange plans within two hours of your flight. The airlines often offer passengers a travel voucher instead (like every time, let's be real). They're also required to tell you that you can get a check on the spot. It's like your flight-delay Miranda rights.

Even with new flight arrangements, you get cash

If your airline can get you to your destination between one and two hours of your scheduled arrival on a domestic flight, or between one and four hours on an international trip, it owes you compensation of 200 percent of the one-way fare to your destination, up to $650. That was fast, but not fast enough, airline fiends.

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Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are cheapest days to fly, not necessarily to buy

Airlines carry fewer business passengers on these days of the week, and thus there's often a surplus of seats. But don't confused this fact with the idea that buying a ticket on a Tuesday will result in lower airfare. That's a separate thing.

You can cancel within 24 hours for no charge

Now, there are caveats, so don't go booking out an entire planeful of tickets just for S&Gs. For most airlines, you can cancel/change your ticket up to seven days before your scheduled date of travel and get a full refund. The notable exception: American Airlines, which instead allows you to hold a ticket up to 24 hours at the price you see. Additionally, you need to book directly with the airline's website, and not through a third-party booking site, although big ones like Expedia or Travelocity offer policies similar to those of airlines. But the big takeaway: you can have buyer's remorse for up to a full day. And some airlines -- like Southwest -- have even more generous refund policies that let you change plans up until right before you take off.

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Credit: Flickr/armydre2008

They owe you way more for delayed luggage than they'll offer to pay

If your bag is delayed, not lost, airlines will try to placate you with $25 or $50 per day. But the DOT says it's not enough to salvage a wedding, a ski trip, or an important business trip. These companies can owe you up to $3,300 in liability for a domestic U.S. trip, so long as you've got receipts to prove you needed that stuff. Looks like upon arrival, a new tuxedo is in order. (You always wear Armani...)

Head to Thrillist.com for 5 more secrets the airlines don't you to know!

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